Thanksgiving vandalism: ‘Land back’ sprayed on US statues

Statues and monuments in at least four US states were vandalised over Thanksgiving, with the words “land back” seen painted on three ex-presidents and a “Pioneers Statue”, among others.

The damage was reported to have occurred on monuments in Oregon, Minnesota, Washington and Illinois on Wednesday and Thursday, as part of a campaign to acknowledge the loss of Native American’s rights by the settlement of North America.  

Dawn Sommers, spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), told CNN that the city’s Pioneers Statue was spray painted with the words “no thanks,” “no more genocide,” “decolonise” and “land back”.

The statue has also been targeted in the past.  

Another monument, dedicated to George Washington, was also damaged in Minneapolis, and was discovered toppled on Thursday.

Ms Sommers said “The MPRB is working together with the community to address and respond using a racial equity lens to determine next steps”.

The Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation (PIPL) network took responsibility for the vandalism and said in a statement it was partly in response to a callout for a “national decolonial day of action.“

The PIPL, an autonomous movement, went on to describe Thanksgiving as “a vile white supremacist celebration,” and called for solidarity between Indigenous peoples and Black Americans, who led demonstrations against systemic racism over the summer, sparked by the Minneapolis killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd.  

The phrase “land back” was also seen painted on a statue of former president William McKinley in Chicago, which was damaged on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told CNN that a rope was thrown around the statue of McKinley “in an attempt to bring it down with a vehicle.”

In Portland, Oregon, three people were arrested after they allegedly spray painted and broke windows, with around 10 businesses targeted on Thursday, police said in a statement.

The words “land back” were seen spray painted on at least two businesses.

And in Spokane, Washington, police said that an Abraham Lincoln statue was splattered with red paint at around midnight on Wednesday.

According to CNN, no arrests have been made in the Minneapolis, Washington and Chicago incidents.

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